Posted by Frank on December 26, 1998 at 17:34:28:
Rents are certainly a function of the local
marketplace, but government is already too
involved, government has already imposed vast
costs on landlords and tenants. Where I live,
you can’t legally rent a four-bedroom house to
three unrelated individuals unless the property
has an existing, grandfathered rental license.
There’s some cliche about all politics being local,
and that applies with a vengence to the politics
and economics of housing. Where I live, the
homeowners are trying to drive landlords and
tenants out of town. When landlords complain.
the homeowners say that the marketplace isn’t
working they way they want, and when tenants
complain (about rents driven north by excessive
regulation) the homeowners say that’s economics
and the marketplace in action. You didn’t really
think there is a free market in housing, did you?
As for the marketplace controlling itself, it is
precisely that action of the marketplace which
makes winners and losers. For example, blockbusting
does a pretty good job of making losers out of
homeowners, and gentrification does a pretty good job
of making losers out of tenants.